Apples C – Y

Welcome back!  If you are reading this on FaceBook, you might like to subscribe to my blog via the website, so you don’t miss out on announcements like this in the future.  FB feeds can scroll along pretty quickly some days and it’s easy to miss a post.

Please refer to yesterday’s post for information on rootstock, etc.  Big thanks to the people who’ve ordered and those who have already picked up trees!  Yay!

Audun and I have finished sorting through the apples, putting aside ones to plant at my place and working out which trees can be for sale.

Here are the rest of the available apples…  PLEASE have a read through this and yesterday’s post and have a short list before contacting me… if you want four apples, have a list of six so that if some are sold out you can grab the next on the list.  All of these apples are interesting and useful in their own way; people often stick to dessert apples, but why not deliberately plant a classic cooker like Geeveston Fanny (slices stay firm when cooked) or Golden Noble which does the opposite and turns into a golden fluffy mass.  Some kids have never seen apple that cooks like that… give ’em a treat!


Calville blanc d’Hiver  FT 3      M9 / M26 /MM102

Cooking, France post 1600. Fruit medium size, variable,  yellow, smooth, sweet – acid.  Flesh colour white to creamy pale yellow. Late season harvest. The perfect choice for tarte aux pommes, its spicy aromatic flavor makes it one of the world’s top culinary apples, which keeps shape during cooking.  The ugly exterior of this mis-shapen apple belies a sublime interior.

Cornish Gilliflower  FT 3              M9 / M26 / Ottawa 3

Dessert, late harvest, England (Cornwall_ pre-1813.  Fruit large, green, flushed brown-red, firm, rich aromatic.  Light cropper, tip bearer.  “No other equals it in excellence”.  All classic writers agree about its high quality.

Dayton     FT 3     M26

Modern variety – USA (Illinois), 1976.  Brilliant red fruit is crisp, juicy, sweet-tart, and very flavourful. Flesh is pale yellow, fine grained, and mildly sub-acid.

Doctor Hogg    FT 3                                 M 26 / Ottawa 3

Dual purpose, second early to midseason harvest, England (Sussex) 1880.  Fruit medium-size, golden, pink cheer, tender, juicy, brisk-sweet.  Tree flowers midseason. “First class baking, excellent culinary, also good for dessert”

Edna Walling’s Crab   FT 2               MM102                 (one only)

Famous for being the favourite of Australian 1930’s and 40’s garden designer Edna Walling.  Fruits are a good size for jelly making (35-40 mm round).

Einshemer     FT 1    [E]      M9 /  M26

Syn. Ein Shemer. Dessert, early harvest, Israel, modern.  Fruit medium to large, yellow with some blush, sweet.  Tree flowers very early, diploid.  Said to be resistant to apple scab (black spot).  Another of the modern low chill varieties.  Because of its very early flowering, some authorities suggest Anna or Dorsett Golden for cross-pollination.  Clive Winmill’s observation of flowering periods suggests cultivars from FT1 may be better.  (It is in leaf now, early September)

Egremont Russet  FT 2     MM102

Dessert, midseason harvest (late season according to Orange Pippin website).  England 1872.   The definitive English russet apple, with the charateristic sweet/dry “nutty” flavour.  Spur bearer.  Eaten fresh, cooked or dried.  Main commercial russet in UK, “A delicious fruit especialy suited for garden use”

Fameuse (aka Snow Apple)   FT 3                   M26

Syn. Pomme de Neige, Snow Apple. Dessert, mid to late harvest, probably Canada, pre-1730.  Fruit small, red, crisp, very white-fleshed, mild flavour, slight perfume.  Tree vigorous, good cropper, flowers midseason.  “A very celebrated fruit”.  A noted favourite – particularly of children, probably on account of its mild flavour and handy size.  There appears to be a cultivar called “Lady in the Snow” which is sometimes thought to be the same as Fameuse – both are popularly called Snows.  However, it seems more probably that they’re two distinct cultivars.  The flesh of Fameuse is typically pure white, whereas that of Lady in the Snow has a pink tinge.  Winmill states that  Lady in the Snow is a name of no horticulturally standing.  Fameuse produces seedlings fairly close to the parental type, so the mysterious Lady may be one of those.

Geeveston Fanny    FT 2                       M 26 / Ottawa 3

Dual purpose, midseason harvest, Tasmania, pre-1880.  Fruit small-medium, prettily flushed/striped, crisp, sweet, aromatic.  Tree vigorous, upright, heavy cropper, best thinned.  Flowers early to midseason.  “In cooking, slices retain their shape”.  One of the Winmill favourites and one of the prettiest.  Distinct from the USA cv. Fanny but possibly a seedling from it.

Gladstone FT 4      MM102

An old English summer apple, dating back to the 1780s, but re-introduced in 1868 by Mr Jackson of Blakedown Nursery as Jackson’s Seedling. Renamed Gladstone in 1883.  (Orange Pippin website)  Not named after the Prime Minister!  Red fruit, early season harvest.  Partial tip bearer.

Gloster 69    FT 3                M26 / Ottawa 3

This is a vigorous tree and a prolific and reliable cropper. It produces large dark red apples that are sweet and crisp and can be used as eaters or cookers. It can be a useful tree to grow as a pollinator for other apple trees. Raised at a research station in Germany (Jork, Hamburg, 1950’s), it became a popular commercial variety and is widely grown across northern Europe.

Golden Delicious  FT 3               M9

Dessert, mid to late harvest, USA, released 1914.  Fruit medium size, yellow, crisp, sweet.  Despite name, not related to the Delicious family of apples.  One of the most widely grown apples.  You’ve eaten it, you know it.  🙂

Golden Noble  FT 4              Ottawa 3 / MM 102

Cooker, early to mid season. England (Norfolk) 1820.  Tree vigorous, moderate cropper, partial tip bearer.  In cooking, retains lemony flavour, cooks fluffy, pale golden.  Very ripe specimens can be eaten by those who like a tangy fruit.

Gravenstein    Triploid – FT 2                    M26

Dual purpose, early to second-early harvest, possibly Schleswig-Holstein, possibly Italy, pre-1667.  Fruit large, flushed and streaked, crisp, aromatic, cooks fluffily.  Tree vigorous, spreading, partial tip-bearer, flowers early to midseason, triploid.  “Very valuable apple of the first quality”  OrangePippin website states it as a Danish apple.

Hoover  FT          FT unknown            Ottawa 3 / MM102

Dessert, USA (Sth Carolina pre 1850) Large, slightly conical apples.  Skin almost completely covered with dark-red (which can be a lighter red at lower altitudes) with some russetting and light dots.  Inside, they have firm, tender, juicy flesh with a good, brisk taste with mild tartness.  Very late so good keeper.  (This variety not included in Winmill’s ‘definite’ list.  Flowering time hence unknown but likely to be mid/late as US records describe it as coming into leaf much later than other Southern apples)

Isaac Newton’s Tree  FT 5                M26

Cooker, late harvest, England (Lincs) c.1660.  Fruit large, lumpy, green, some flush, soft subacid.  Tree moderately vigorous, spreading, mostly tip bearing, flowers late.  The well-known piece of folklore has it that Newton’s Law of Gravity was inspired by an apple falling from the tree in his garden.  The tree was propagated before it died, resulting in this cultivar of special historical interest.  Its original name, if it had one, is unknown.

Jonathan  FT 3         M9 / M26

Dual purpose, mid to late harvest, USA pre-1826.  Fruit medium size, flushed, firm, subacid.  Tree medium-sized, slender, spreading almost drooping, regular cropper, flowers midseason, diploid.  Still a favourite for many, mostly as a dessert apple.

Kidd’s Orange Red  FT 3                       M9 / M26 / MM102

Dessert, mid to very late harvest, New Zealand, 1924.  Bred from Cox’s Orange Pippin x Golden Delicious.  Fruit medium size, red, russet patches, firm, crisp, juicy, sweet.  Tree moderately vigorous, spreading, productive, flowers midseason, diploid.  “well worth a place in the garden… rich aromatic flavour”  Because of genetic closeness, not good in cross-pollination combinations with either of its parents.

Kingston Black   (aka Black Taunton)   FT 3             M26

Traditional English (Somerset, pre 1884) cider apples, especially suited for making dry cider.  Fruit small & red.

King David  FT 3                   M26 / Ottawa 3

Dessert, mid to late harvest, USA (Ark), 1893, released 1902.  Fruit medium size, red, firm, subacid.  Tree flowers midseason. Possible Jonathan/Winesap parentage

King of Tompkins County  Triploid – FT 3     [E]   MM102

USA, New Jersey, early 1800’s.  Fruit large, dual purpose late season bearer.  Aromatic flavour when eaten as a dessert apple, also used for cooking and drying.  Keeps very well, as do most late bearing varieties.  Spur bearing so could be espaliered.  (worth buying for the name!)

Laxton’s Superb  FT 4      Ottawa 3

Dessert, late harvest, England (Beds) 1897. Fruit medium, dull flushed, crisp, sweet.  Tree vigorous, upright, spreading, biennial bearing, flowers mid to late.  “Crisp and melting, of good flavour”.  Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit, 1919.

Lodi    FT 3                         M26 / Ottawa 3

Cooker, early USA (New York) introduced 1924. Fruit medium to large, pale yellow, occasional brownish-yellow flush, flesh subacid.  Tree vigorous, spreading, partial tip-bearer, flowers midseason.  A seedling of White Transparent, selected by New York Agricultural Experiment Station.  Bruises less easily than its parent.

Maiden’s Blush   FT 3            M26 /Ottawa 3

Cooker, second-early harvest.  Long circulated in Australia under this name, but appears to be neither the English Maiden’s Blush nor the Irish Maiden’s Blush not the Maiden Blush of USA.  However, a good cooker, said by some to be better than even Bramley’s Seedling.  Fruit medium size, usually flushed, crisp, tender, acid.  Tree regular bearer, flowers midseason.  Pale yellow skin with red blush.

Mother    FT 4           M9 / M26

Syn.  American Mother. Dessert, second-early to early midseason harvest, USA 1844. Fruit medium size, flushed and striped, crisp, aromatic.  Tree upright, moderately vigorous, round-headed, flowers mid to late season, diploid.  “A very choice dessert fruit”

Mutsu (aka Crispin)  Triploid – FT 3                M26

Dual purpose, late harvest, Japan, c. 1949.  Bred from Golden Delicious x Indo.  Fruit large, golden, slight flush, firm, subacid to sweet, cooks pale yellow with pieces staying whole.  Tree vigorous, spreading, spurs freely, heavy cropper if given cross-pollination, flowers midseason, triploid.  “Refreshing”.  Introduced to Australia in 1980/90’s and much touted (then) on account of its size – as if no large apples had ever existed before.  Because of genetic closeness, not good in cross-pollination combinations with either of its parents.

Newton Pippin         FT 3      M102

Newtown, Long Island, mid 18th Century.  Also known as Albermarle Pippin. Made famous by Thomas Jefferson, who grew them in his orchard at Monticello. One of the first US apple exports to the UK.  Quite self-fertile and adaptable, – used for dessert, cooking, juicing, drying and making hard/dry cider.  Can tend toward biennial bearing.

Northern Spy       FT 5                 M26 / Ottawa 3

Syn. Spy.  Dual purpose, very late harvest, USA c. 1800.  Fruit medium size, flushed, tender, sweet, fragrant, good keeper.  Tree vigorous, upright, compact, flowers late, diploid.  “Most delicious, fragrant and sprightly” Makes good pies

Pine Golden Pippin   FT 5     M26 / MM102

Dessert, mid to late harvest, UK pre-1861.  Fruit small medium, fully russeted, tender, pineapple flavour.  Tree flowers late. “One of the best”

Spartan FT 3     [E]      M9 / MM102

Dessert, mid to late harvest, Canada, 1926.  Fruit medium-large, dark red, firm, crisp, juicy, sweet.  Tree upright-spreading, moderately vigorous, flowers midseason, diploid.  “Very good eating qualities”

Stayman’s Winesap      FT 3   [E]         M9 / M26 / MM102

Syn. Winesap (by error).  Dessert, late harvest, USA (Kansas) raised 1895.  Fruit medium-large, flushed and striped, firm, aromatic subacid, good keeper.  Tree moderately vigorous, spreading, flowers midseason, triploid.  “The best variety of the Winesap class for general cultivation”. The class includes several sports and seedlings derived from the old USA cultivar Winesap.  Stayman’s Winesap is one of the seedling offspring.  When its distinguishing term “Stayman’s” is dropped during name-shortening (a common practice), the name becomes plain Winesap, leading to confusion with its parent.  Stayman’s Winesap has added to the Winesap group by producing more highly coloured sports.  Scarlet Staymared is a popular one which originated in the USA (Washington) in 1936.

Sturmer Pippin  FT 3     M26 / Ottawa 3

Dessert, late harvest, England (Suffolk or Essex) c. 1830. Fruit medium size, flushed, russeted, crisp, rich, briskly sweet, good keeper.  Tree slender, good cropper, flowers midseason, diploid.  “Indispensable for late use… exceedingly desirable”. Pick as late as possible to develop full flavour.  Red sports exist.

Summer Strawberry FT 4      MM102

Dessert, second early harvest.  Probably Australia (SA), probably late 1800’s.  Fruit small-medium, striped, crisp when fresh, sweet.  Tree moderately vigorous, spreading, needs good soils, flowers mid to late.  Other ‘Summer Strawberry’ apples exist, and this may be an early 19th Century one from Scotland or the north of England, but the Australian background seems most likely.  Red sports exist, the best of which is probably Mould’s Red Summer Strawberry

Twenty Ounce  FT 3        M9 / M26 / Ottawa 3 / MM102

Dual purpose, mid to late harvest, USA (Connecticut) c. 1844.  Fruit large, yellow, streaked and splashed red, tender, subacid, good dryer.  Tree moderately vigorous, dense spreading, good cropper, flowers midseason.  “Very large and showy… highly esteemed… reliable”.  Better for cooking and exhibition than for dessert.  Not to be confused with Twenty Ounce Pippin, another North American cultivar.  A similar cultivator is Opalescent

Veitch’s Scarlett  FT 4             MM102  [This is a CRAB apple]

Uk C. 1904.  Flowers about 35 mm across, pink in bud but white when open.  Fruit large (45 mm) scarlet, oval, so good for cooking and jelly making

White Winter Pearmain   Triploid – FT 2      MM102

Dual purpose. Late harvest, keeps for 2-3 months.  Online information about this apple is contradictory (e.g. dating from 1200 or 1800’s? triploid or self-fertile? keeping time?), so it might be good to have a few local plantings to see how it goes here!  Salt Springs claim it as a US apple, from mid-19th Century.   Several websites state that it was very popular, so maybe it was very tasty?   I’ve only got one for sale – who wants it?  🙂

Yates   FT  3    M9 / M26

Very late and a great keeper.    Dessert, very late harvest.  USA c 1813.  Fruit small, red, firm, sweet.  Tree vigourous, upright, great & regular bearer.  “First class”  Still a favourite in some parts of Australia.  Fruit can remain on tree after leaf fall.  Rarely misses a year.

See that sunshine in the background? 

A taste of things to come, friends!

Apples A – B

I have some apples for sale immediately.  Fruit trees are usually planted mid Winter, so we’re a little late but it’s still cold enough that most are still dormant.  These trees are in pots and are very happy, judging by the number of worms in the pots we played with today.  I recommend planting them as soon as you can, although you could keep them in pots – which will require watering over Summer.

$25 per tree, even for the rare ones, so cheaper than the big green box shop!  I have limited quantities so your first preference may not be available – but despair not because Audun and I will be working our way through the nursery over the next few days and I will be posting information about other varieties as we progress through the alphabet.  If there is a specific variety you know you want, contact me and I will check for you straight away.  Tonight I’m just posting apples in the A and B section.  After the apple name, I’m listing which roostock I have it on.  Ideally, email me with a shortlist so if I can’t give you your top pick, I can give you the next one, etc.  🙂

Order by emailing

Varietal notes are mostly taken (with permission) from Clive Winmills’s “Apples Old & New” …supplemented with my own research and observation.  There are loads more opinions about each apple online so also have fun researching – and remember that how an apple tastes or performs also depends on your soil, care, rainfall, etc.  🙂

(FT means Flowering Table – ones with the same number flower at the same time.  E means spur bearing and suited for espaliering.)

Rootstocks are either:

M9 – very dwarf (35% seedlings size), requires staking, suited for step overs, large pots, wicking beds or raised bed plantings.  I wouldn’t recommend for orchard plantings, although it is used in commercial orchards in Australia.

M26 – dwarf (40% seedling size). Vigorous, doesn’t like extended wet feet, but I’ve found it good at my place, which can be very wet.

Ottawa 3 – (45% seedling size) Canadian rootstock suited to very cold conditions.

MM102 – 45 % seedling size. Quite resistant to Woolly Aphid

Here’s more information on different rootstocks from Eversen Nurseries (Australia).

Akane  FT 3   [E]      [M9 / M 26]

Dessert, second-early harvest, Japan. Introduced to Australia mid 1970’s. Fruit medium size, red, firm. Tree prolific, flowers midseason, diploid. “Stores and carries well”

Alexander FT 3  [M9 / M26 / MM102]

Cooker/dual purpose, mid-season harvest.  ex Ukraine (c 1700?), well known in USA. Introduced to UK in 1817.  Good eating out of hand, but even better for cooking or drying. It is a good sauce apple, yielding a very juicy purée. Fruit comes to maturity over many weeks, requiring multiple pickings which suits home gardeners.  Does not store well.

Anna   FT  1   [E]    [M26 / Ottawa 3]

Dessert, early harvest, Israel, modern. Fruit medium to large, red-blushed, good flavour. Tree flowers extremely early, diploid.  This is a low-chill cultivar and therefore suitable for ‘subtropical’ areas. Flowers too early even for FT1, so cross-pollinate with Dorsett Golden, which is similarly early.  [Both the Anna’s have already got leaves on them!  – Steve]

Annie Elizabeth  FT3    [E]        [MM102 only]

Cooker, late harvest, England (Leics.) c. 1870. Fruit medium to large, flushed and striped, firm, acid, keeper.  Tree moderately vigorous, upright-spreading, quite self-fertile, flowers mid-season, diploid.  A reliable cropper of well-seized fruits.  Generally classed as a cooker, but good dessert apple for those who like a tangy table apple. “An excellent late kitchen or dessert apple”

Baldwin [ M9 / M26 / Ottawa 3]

Dual purpose, mid to late harvest, USA c 1740.  Fruit large, red, crisp, slightly aromatic, and a good dryer and keeper.  Tree vigorous, large, round-headed, flowers early to midseason, triploid.  “The most popular variety in the northern states [of the USA] throughout most of the 19th century. A first rate fruit.”

Ballarat (aka Stewart’s Seedling)  FT 3  [M26 / Ottawa 3]

Dual purpose, late harvest, Australia (Ballarat!) 1870’s. Fruit medium size, yellow-green, hard, subacid, cooking translucent with pieces remaining whole, keeper.  Tree upright, vigorous, flowers mid-season.  “Noted for the outstanding flavour of its jelly.  To many people, superior to Granny Smith for cooking”.  The name Ballarat Seedling was given to it by the Mossmont nursery, which was based in Ballarat before moving to the Dandenongs.  Clive Winmill notes that it is usually classed purely as a cooker, but that he rated it highly as a dessert apple.

Belle Cacheuse  FT 3   [M26 / Ottawa 3]

Belle Cacheuse apple is an old French variety,  very large size cooking apples, some of the largest there is. Also used in cider making, but pretty good eaten fresh too, real prize winner. Fruit large, flattish with green skin striped red on sunny side.

Belle de Boskoop  FT6 – 2   [M9 / M26 / Ottawa 3]

Syn. Boskoop, Gold Reinette. Dual purpose, harvest mid to late, Netherlands. 1856.  Fruit medium-large, yellow, flushed and russetted, crisp, aromatic acid, good keeper, cooks fluffily golden yellow.  Tree large, upright-spreading, flowers early to midseason, triploid. “a valuable apple” Belle de Bosjoop is much sought after by people of European background, and its reputation is well deserved.  Its synonym Gold Reinette is frequently corrupted to Golden Reinette, thus confusing it with at least 25 other cultivars sharing the latter name.

Blenheim Orange  FT 3   [M26 / MM102 / Ottawa 3]

Syn. Blenheim Orange Pippin.  Dual purpose, midseason to late harvest. England (Oxon.) c 1740. Fruit large, orange blushed, a little striped and russetted, crisp, briskly sweet, fair keeper.  Tree vigorous, spreading, partial tip bearer, flowers midseason, triploid.  “one of the best all-round apples grown” Winmill agrees.  Also beautiful in appearance.  Young trees shy croppers but improve with age.

Blue Pearmain FT 3     [M26 / Ottawa 3 / MM102]

Dual purpose, late harvest, probably USA, early 1800s. Fruit medium to large, purplish red with heavy bloom, flesh yellowish, tender, sweet, aromatic, keeper.  Tree moderately vigorous, spreading, good spur producer, flowers midseason.  “Rather rich, and very good”  Grew well for Winmills.  The dark, bloomed fruit quite striking in appearance.

Brittle Sweet [M26 / Ottawa 3 / MM102]

Dessert, second early to midseason harvest, USA 1867.  Fruit medium size, red, crisp, honeylike, aromatic.  Tree moderately vigorous, very good cropper, flowers midseason.  “Among the best, and deserves more attention”


Mend it, Melton!

There’s a fab couple doing some magnificent recycling, upcycling, repurposing and general frugal lifestyle work in sunny Melton (half way to Melbourne from Ballarat).

They are Danny and Karen Ellis and they are RUDE – Reusers of Unloved Discarded Excess!  You can check them out here

or hear Karen’s elevator pitch  about what they do!  You can also send them some love on their FaceBook page.  They are a great example of people taking simple practical steps to reduce their carbon footprint, live more sustainably and obtain a yield from the amazing bounty of “junk” that our society produces.

In the old days (e.g. last week?) people used to do an extraordinary thing called ‘repair’.  Instead of throwing something away, they replaced parts or patched things up and got them working again.  It takes a whole lot of energy to replace things, so repairing is a very sound sustainability strategy.  It also empowers you when you are the one doing the repairs – you might learn new skills as well as save yourself a heap of cash.  Case in point: yesterday I replaced the keyboard of the laptop I’m typing on.  Water was spilled on the old board and fried nearly all the keys.  A bit of online searching found a replacement keyboard for less than $25.  2-3 instruction videos on YouTube told me what to do and I’m back in business.  How much cheaper is that than a new laptop? 

Permaculture principles in 10 mins

I hope you enjoy this fun explanation of the Holmgren permaculture design principles.. in less than 10 minutes!

Sure, it doesn’t cover the full complexity of the principles, but what a great introduction to share with family or friends.  Enjoy.

Earth Overshoot

Some sobering reading… We know we’re using more resources than the Earth can generate, but this website really brings it home.  These guys track it day by day and we used  the total resources our planet is going to generate this calendar year by August 2.

Which means we’re now trading on borrowed time…

Earth Overshoot Day 2017 Calculator

Food Waste!

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Paul Hawken about his new book Drawdown.  KQED’s Devin Katayama spoke with Paul Hawken about the book and what each one of us can do to “draw down” the atmosphere’s carbon load.

Katayama: What about individuals? What can I do in my home to help out?

Hawken: The number one thing you can do, and I’m starting to do it now too by the way (which I thought I did before, but wasn’t so aware of it) is reduce food waste.  Americans waste 40 percent of the food that we produce. And it takes a lot of energy to produce that food, not just on a farm level but shipping and storage and packing and distribution and processing. It takes 14 or 15 calories for every calorie you consume, and then you toss it. Not in San Francisco, but in most cities in the world and certainly in the United States, that food then goes to landfills and produces methane, a greenhouse gas which is 34 times more powerful than CO2. So, reducing food waste.

KQED is a public radio and TV organisation in San Francisco, CA.

You can read the full article online.

London Permaculture Network festival

Here are some shots from the excellent LPN festival!

Queueing for tickets at a permaculture event?  Yes please

UK Permaculture Association stall (I think Andy has just spotted me taking the photo!)

Ian Westmoreland from Demand Energy Equality who ran a workshop on DIY solar panels – click on their name to go to their website and find out more.

Maddy Harland from Permanent Publications, reviewing practical responses to climate change, as outlined in Paul Hawken‘s book and website Drawdown

enjoying the summer sunshine

you could have bought this beauty for 75 GB Pounds

Robin Grey from 3 Acres and a Cow leading a music and singing circle which took us on a tour of British land and housing rights movements from the 1700’s to the present day.

and, finally, a cheeky smile from Tomas Remiarz at the pub to which many of us retreated afterwards!

If you haven’t read it yet, I heartily recommend Tomas’ book Forest Gardening in Practice – especially for the early sections where he gives what I think is the most eloquent and accurate outline of the history of the forest garden movement in the last few decades.

Book frenzy!

Had a great day yesterday at the London Permaculture Network festival in Camden.  Lots of highlights but I wanted to quickly share some of the killer buys from the Permanent Publications bargain table.  All books were 2 pounds.  Gates opened at 11 am.  I was there at about 11.30 and I reckon most of the books were gone by 12.  People were piling them high!  Here are some of the ones I grabbed…

False economy?

Like a lot of people who are into permaculture, I’m pretty keen on recycling, upcycling and the various other forms of non-bicycle related cycling that waste managers go on about.  It is great to save something from landfill and give it another go.  Timber, corrugated iron, old windows, posts, poles, bits of metal, wood stoves…. I’ve got a few piles of goodies around the place!

There are times, however, where upcycling might not be the best idea.  In the last fortnight, I’ve visited two places where apple grafts are covered with twisted plastic bags rather than commercial grafting tape.  When I first heard the idea, I thought it was a very clever re-use… but then I learned a bit more.  Both grafters seemed to have high failure rates: one suggested about 30% failure of apples and the other more than 50%.  Of course other factors could be at play, but since most apple grafters I know get only about 5% failure I’m a little cautious.

On one farm, I helped out in the nursery by removing tape and found many of the trees severely constricted.  Check out these photos:

The bags were tied tightly (especially at the top of the covered area) and had no ability to stretch under pressure, so when the trees started to grow in Spring, they swelled above the constriction but couldn’t do so at the point of the graft.  Once the bags are removed, the graft area can grow out and I’m sure six months would make a world of difference; the level of constriction would be much less as the graft area ‘caught up’ with the area above it.  Unfortunately, several of the grafts didn’t get that chance; a light flurry of wind was all it took to cause them to fall over – hinging on the thin weak graft area.  🙁

I think I’ll keep using commercial grafting tape.  Plastic bags might have other uses, but I don’t think apple grating is one of them.

Mike Feingold

Yesterday I spent a great couple of hours with Mike Feingold on his Bristol allotment.  Mike is a permaculture pioneer who has been working for sustainability here for decades.  Amongst many other things, he has been developing a permaculture garden at the Glastonbury festival for the last 23 years; this year with the help of a crew of 80 helpers.

Let Mike tell you about the allotment in his own words.  Here are two great YouTube links: